What you need to know this summer
Bookmark this page to stay informed with the latest information to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.
Updated May 30, 2023
Midland Ave Streetscape details
Reservations required – Maroon Bells, Hanging Lake and the White River National Forest
Traffic & Road Conditions
Fire restrictions and alerts
If you are looking for important updates, learn more on our Be Prepared page, which covers the different emergency alert systems in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Historic Downtown – Midland Ave Streetscape Project
Starting Summer 2023, sections of Midland Ave in Historic Downtown will be under construction. Businesses will remain open during this time, so please be sure to Support Local. The summer will also include a robust programming calendar.
Details and updates about the construction can be found on the Town of Basalt’s Midland Ave Streetscape Project website.
Getting to Historic Downtown Basalt
Please support the Town of Basalt’s climate action initiatives and use alternative transportation to get to Historic Downtown.
If you are in the neighborhood, get those steps in and walk to, and around, Historic Downtown!
Did you know? The distance from the far end of Midland Spur (Free Range Kitchen) to the far end of Midland Ave (Barbershop/Homestead Drive) is .3 miles or about a 7 minute walk at a very leisurely pace (2.6 mi/hr). To put it in different terms, this is the equivalent of walking from the far end of the Rodeo Lot in Snowmass Village to the bus stop, and less than one loop around the block at Sopris Park in Carbondale during Mountain Fair.
Bike – including WE-cycle
Grab your personal bike and pedal (or pedal assist) to downtown. Additional bike parking has been installed near Town Hall, with other bike racks around Midland Ave. Be kind to Mother Nature – please do not lock bikes to trees.
A great alternative to your own bike is the Roaring Fork Valley bike share WE-cycle. WE-cycle, is free for rides up to 30-minutes, which includes the blue E-bikes. Charges apply for bikes in use after 30 minutes. There are new WE-cycle stations around downtown, and near RFTA stops.
Did you know? With a WE-cycle blue E-bike, it is possible to get from one end of Basalt to the other in a matter of minutes, well before the FREE 30 minute ride time has concluded.
Map of WE-cycle station locations
Start using WE-cycle
- Sign Up – Create an account and be riding in minutes.
- Ride – Unlock a bike at any station by using a smartphone or keycard. Remove a bike when you see the green light.
- Return – Dock your bike, at any station, in under 30-minutes to avoid Late Fees. Firmly push your bike into a dock to lock it. Your ride has ended when you see the green light.
- Ride Again! WE-cycle is here as a fast and fun way to get where you want to be. Just keep those trips short and they are free
Need to ride longer than 30 minutes? Consider a bike rental over bike share.
RFTA (public transit)
The Roaring Fork Valley is fortunate to have RFTA, which makes it easy to get around the valley by bus. Mobile ticketing is now available, making it easy to purchase a ticket on a smartphone prior to boarding.
There are stops located at the Basalt Park and Ride for BRT and for local service directly in downtown Basalt. A complete schedule, including location for stops, is available on the RFTA website.
Did you know? It is FREE (yes free) to travel within a single RFTA zone. This means it is fare-free for a rider to travel between different parts of Basalt and El Jebel. Blue Lake to Historic Downtown? FREE. Old Snowmass to Willits? FREE. See the map below for all stops within the Basalt Zone.
Other ways to save
- Seniors (65+) can rider RFTA regional routes for free. Learn more.
- Eligible businesses can purchase Chamber discounted bulk passes for employees. Reach out to the chamber to learn more.
Basalt Connects- FREE Shuttle
Basalt Connect is free and provides on-demand rides within a designated service zone in Basalt between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily from June 1 through August 31, 2023. In September, the schedule shifts to reduced service hours during weekdays, with continued full service on weekends, between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Learn more about Basalt Connect, how to download the app, and service area here.
Parking – Alternative locations
If you must drive, please park at the Basalt Elementary (GPS address: 151 Cottonwood Dr, Basalt, CO 81621) or the Basalt Middle School parking lots (GPS address: 51 School St, Basalt, CO 81621). Both schools are next to one another and accessible via Two Rivers Road. Then walk or ride WE-cycle to Historic Downtown.
Other options include parking further away along either end of Two Rivers Road.
Maroon Bells | Make a reservation
The Maroon Bells, the most photographed mountains in North America, are a series of distinctively bell-shaped, wine-colored peaks towering 14,000 ft. above the pristine, glacial Maroon Creek Valley. It offers some of the most spectacular natural views in the world.
Reservations are required to access the Maroon Bells Scenic Area and related amenities by vehicle or by RFTA shuttle. Choose between trailhead parking reservations from May 15 to October 31, or shuttle reservations from May 26 to October 22, 2023 (depending on weather conditions). The shuttle runs every 15 minutes beginning at 8 a.m. The last outgoing shuttle departs at 3 p.m. The last return shuttle departs Maroon Lake at 5 p.m.
Maroon Bells reservations are released on a rolling basis:
- March 1, 2023 – Reservations for May & June available
- April 1, 2023 – Reservations for July & August available
- May 1, 2023 – Reservations for September & October available
For Maroon Bells reservation questions, please call 970-930-6442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations may be made by visiting aspenchamber.org.
The Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA) assists with the management of the Maroon Bells reservation system and is the main point of contact for any questions.
NOTE: The county closes the road in November based on snow conditions. Once the road is closed, visitors can walk, bike, cross-country ski, and snowmobile from T Lazy 7 Ranch. Maroon Lake is approximately 7 miles from T Lazy 7 Ranch.
Hanging Lake | Make a reservation
Hanging Lake is a Colorado treasure and a rare example of a travertine geological formation located in the heart of Glenwood Canyon on the White River National Forest. The 1.2 mile (1.9 km) trail is steep, rigorous and rocky but rewarding. This National Natural Landmark features awe-inspiring scenery and gentle waterfalls! The Hanging Lake trail is a backcountry hike. While you don’t need to be an expert hiker, please be advised that if you have physical limitations, you will find the hike challenging. At the beginning and end of the hiking trail it is steep, rugged and rocky. In just over a mile, the trail gains elevation of 1200 feet (366 m). Small children and the elderly have found this hike especially difficult.
Reservations to hike Hanging Lake Trail are available through the booking portal at VisitGlenwood.com. Please read all information about the Hanging Lake Trail before purchasing your permit. To donate to the trail restoration click HERE.
Visit Glenwood and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association (GSCRA) assist with the promotion and management of Hanging Lake. For questions, visit the Hanging Lake page (see FAQs and download the brochure) or contact the Hanging Lake Call Center: email@example.com or 970-384-6309.
White River National Forest | Make a Reservation
Several areas of the White River National Forest (WRNF) require reservations or permits, including many campsites and select hiking areas. Alerts and Notices are posted regularly, including trail conditions (select “Aspen-Sopris Ranger District Conditions Report (Aspen, CO)” for Roaring Fork Valley updates).
Traffic & Road Conditions
Real time road updates and conditions are available 24/7 at COTrip.org or on Twitter at @ColoradoDOT. For more information, please contact the CDOT Customer Service Hotline at 970-243-2368 or https://www.codot.gov/topcontent/contact-cdot. The hotline is available Monday–Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. In the event of an emergency, please call 911.
I-70 in Glenwood Canyon | CDOT
For spring, summer and fall 2022, CDOT continues to have an I-70 Glenwood Canyon safety protocol in place to protect the traveling public (between exit 116 and 140). Motorists planning to travel on I-70, visit rest areas or use the recreation path should be prepared for reduced speeds or road closures in this section of the highway. If there is rain in the forecast (Flash Flood Warning), motorists should be prepared for a possible safety closure of I-70 and rest areas in the canyon. These safety closures are to protect the traveling public from the potential for debris flow, mudslides or rockfall.
CDOT recommends that travelers have a backup plan in the event that closures are necessary. If a closure is anticipated to last longer than two hours, CDOT continues to recommend that travelers use the northern alternate route (see below for detour information). Please practice patience and visit COTrip.org for additional travel information, alerts, road conditions and routes. If there is a closure, motorists should use the recommended northern alternate route (details below). CDOT also recommends that travelers bring an emergency kit with water, snacks, a flashlight and a blanket, as mountain conditions often change suddenly. Travelers are encouraged to plan ahead and check area road conditions before heading out.
Background | I-70 Glenwood Canyon Emergency Project website
Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path
Go this way! Official I-70 detour during safety closures
If a safety closure of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon is anticipated to last longer than two hours, CDOT recommends a northern alternate route using Colorado Highway 9, US Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 13:
Motorists should anticipate delays on the alternate route due to additional detour traffic.
- EASTBOUND I-70: Motorists traveling eastbound from Utah or Grand Junction can reach the Denver Metro area by traveling the route above . Before detouring onto any alternate route, motorists should refer to w ww.c otrip.org for the latest road conditions. CDOT strongly discourages travelers from using highways south of I-70 for an alternate route, due to extensive construction closures. Motorists should not use Cottonwood Pass Road (in Eagle/Garfield counties), Hagerman Pass, or other county or forest service roads in Eagle and Garfield counties as a detour. These roads are not built for heavy traffic or commercial oversize vehicles (more below).
- WESTBOUND I-70: Motorists coming from the Denver metro area or Interstate 25 can travel the route above in reverse. Go westbound on I-70 to Silverthorne, then turn north onto CO 9. In Kremmling, travelers should turn onto westbound US Highway 40 towards Steamboat Springs. After reaching Craig, motorists can return south via CO 13 towards Rifle. Access to I-70 westbound is at Rifle.
Google Map the route
View ONLY on a desktop: https://goo.gl/maps/9sgwHRvcdMyupxbS6 | For some reason when you click the link on a mobile device, it may default to an incorrect route.
To set the directions on a mobile device, add in a second destination (Meeker), which should then correctly re-route you.
Independence Pass (Hwy 82) – OPEN for the season | CDOT
Independence Pass (Hwy 82 between Aspen to Twin Lakes) is OPEN for the season(as of May 25, 2023).
Independence Pass is open seasonally between the Thursday before Memorial Day in May through November. The opening date is dependent on snowpack levels; the closure date may change due to winter storms and snow at high elevation. Please check the “Alerts and Restrictions” section of COTrip.org for updates.
NOTE: Oversized and overweight vehicles are strictly prohibited from using the Pass at any time due to narrow and winding roads and steep inclines. *Absolutely NO vehicles over 35 feet in length may use the pass at any time – there is a $1,500 fine! This includes both commercial vehicles and passenger/recreational vehicles hauling trailers that, together, exceed 35 feet. Vehicles of this length cannot negotiate certain turns and areas where the road narrows – you will get stuck.
Cottonwood Pass – OPEN for the season | Eagle County
Cottonwood Pass (MM 2.5 in Gypsum to MM 12.5) is OPEN for the season (as of May 15, 2023).
Cottonwood Pass (Hwy 113/10A between El Jebel/Basalt and Gypsum) is open seasonally during warmer months to local traffic. The road stays open through the fall, as conditions allow. Drivers are urged to use caution when driving this road. Traffic and weather can have a significant impact on road conditions. Vehicles should not use Cottonwood Pass Road as an I-70 detour.
Announcements are made when Cottonwood Pass opens in the spring, and when it closes for the season in the fall. For more information, contact the Eagle County Road & Bridge Department: 970-328-3540 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Local Passes | 4×4 only roads
These roads are for 4×4 high clearance vehicles ONLY. If this does not describe your vehicle, do NOT drive it. IMPORTANT: Do not use these roads unless you have the proper equipment. These roads are in areas that lack cell service, so you will not be able to call for assistance.
Example of what can happen to a vehicle that shouldn’t go down Hagerman Pass.
Hagerman Pass Road (#105 between Basalt and Turquoise Lake/Leadville) is a 4X4 ONLY road, accessible to high clearance vehicles. Most vehicles cannot travel down this road.
Eagle-Thomasville Rd, Powerline – Crooked Creek and Brush Creek Rd (between Eagle and Meredith) is a 4X4 ONLY road, accessible to high clearance vehicles. Most vehicles cannot travel down this road.
Fire restrictions and alerts
Wildfire is a real risk in the mountain region, especially during a drought. The Roaring Fork Valley has experience two major fires in the last few years – the Lake Christine Fire in Basalt and the Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood. Our community is all too familiar with the risk of a rogue ember or spark. As a result, following area fire restrictions is very important.
Please be careful with anything that may cause a fire. During a drought, the slightest spark can start a wildfire. Most wildfires are human caused. Previous wildfires have been started by campfires that were not properly extinguished, cigarette butts, sparks from dragging chains on a vehicle, and fireworks. As Smokey Bear says – “Only you can prevent wildfires.”
(updated May 30, 2023)
- Pitkin County – NO fire restrictions at this time.
- Eagle County – NO fire restrictions at this time.
- Garfield County – NO fire restrictions at this time.
- White River National Forest – NO fire restrictions at this time.
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – NO fire restrictions at this time.
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife – The Basalt shooting range is open. The status of CPW areas can be found here.
- State of Colorado – no fire restrictions reported
- Pitkin County – Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt
- Eagle County – Basalt, El Jebel and the Eagle River Valley (Vail)
- Garfield County – Carbondale, Glenwood Springs
- Town of Basalt map with county lines (Eagle and Pitkin)
- White River National Forest – one of the most visited national forest in the nation, the WRNF encompasses 2.3 million acres, and accounts for much of the undeveloped land in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Bureau of Land Management – The Colorado River Valley Field Office manages 567,000 acres in Garfield, Mesa, Eagle, Pitkin, Routt and Rio Blanco counties, which include many recreation areas.
Red Flag warning
Frequently there are Red Flag warnings in effect in the Roaring Fork Valley, indicating no open burning is permitted.
- Fire Weather Watches (issued by the National Weather Service) also warn of risky fire conditions.
- Red Flag warnings typically last for a short period of time, and is tied to high temperatures, high winds and drought conditions.
- Due to the short-term nature of Red Flag warnings, this page will not include those update.
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions [PDF]
The following activities are prohibited under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:
- Fireworks are not allowed under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Professional fireworks shows may be allowed through the permitting process.
- All burn permits are postponed/canceled until further notice.
- Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in Developed Areas (i.e. a permanent in-ground containment structure or store bought fire pit); temporary fire pans or rock campfire rings will not be acceptable.
- No fires of any type, including charcoal, in Undeveloped Areas.
- No smoking, except within a designated area, enclosed vehicle or building, a developed area or in an area free of combustibles.
- No use of fireworks or explosive materials, including “exploding” targets or bullets and tracer rounds.
- Exercise common sense and industry safety practice when welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame always cleared safe area of vegetation and combustibles.
Stage 2 Fire Restrictions [PDF]
The following activities are prohibited under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire, charcoal grill, coal, wood burning stove or sheepherders stove, including in developed camping and picnic grounds.
- EXCEPTION: Devices using pressurized liquid or gas (stoves, grills or lanterns) that include shut-off valves are permitted when used in an area at least three feet or more from flammable material such as grasses or pine needles.
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer, building or tent.
- Using an explosive requiring fuse or blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets and tracers or incendiary ammunition.
- Operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order meeting either:
- Operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arrestor, and without a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and a round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches. The extinguisher will be with the equipment operator. The shovel may be kept with fueling supplies but readily available for use.
- Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame (except with a current permit, contract or letter of authorization).
Complete Fire Ban
- All hot work requires a permit from the local fire authority.